Over at the Post, Joel Sherman takes a break from his vacation with some thoughts about Bartolo Colon, Andy Pettitte, and the Yankees’ starting rotation. This caught my eye:
The Yankees also feel good that they have so many starting pitching prospects near the majors. The Yankees believe that all five starters they are projecting to begin at Triple-A: Andrew Brackman, D.J. Mitchell, Hector Noesi, David Phelps and Adam Warren are legitimate prospects and that they will have two of the best pitching prospects in the minors at Double-A in lefty Manuel Banuelos and righty Dellin Betances plus two other starters the Yankees view as prospects, lefty Shaeffer Hall and righty Graham Stoneburner. The Yankees think with that many quality arms that one or two from the group – at the least – should help in 2011 either by pitching in the majors or by being used in a trade for a starter.
…What would be truly fascinating is if Banuelos and/or Betances thrived in spring, which is not out of the question considering the advanced word on their skills. Joe Girardi just demonstrated his power within the organization when he was one of the votes in favor of signing Soriano that influenced Hal Steinbrenner to overrule Brian Cashman’s recommendation not to give Soriano a three-year, $35 million deal to be a set-up man. Well, what if Girardi voices the opinion that trying to win in the AL East with, say, Sergio Mitre in your rotation is not sound. What do the Yankees do then?
Under Cashman, the Yankees have treated their best pitching prospects like porcelain dolls and due to limitations last year, Banuelos and Betances will both have caps in the 125 innings range. Neither has had even a full season at Double-A. In other words, Cashman has protected just these kinds of pitchers from too-quick promotion and heavy workloads in recent years.
My guess is that the GM will try to curtail even the spark of having Banuelos or Betances make the team by making them part of the early cuts. But I just wonder what happens if, for example, Betances throws in a way to enliven imaginations and in an early March organizational meeting Girardi voices the desire to see more of the 6-foot-8 righty.
Excellent stuff, Mr. Sherman. Glad you took the time to weigh in.
[Photo Credit: SI.com]